Welcome to the Fuel Poverty Library, produced in 2019 to document the legacy of Eaga Charitable Trust. Founded in 1993, the Trust has supported diverse and highly policy relevant research for 25 years. This library brings this body of outputs together under five key themes: Homes, People, Impact, Approaches and Concepts. It also features a suite of animations on fuel poverty, a summary brochure including a 25-year timeline, topic guides for policy makers, a report on the careers of researchers supported by the Trust, and a study of expert opinion on future directions for the field of fuel poverty.
Eaga Charitable Trust (Eaga CT) was founded by energy company Eaga in 1993. Eaga donated over £3.3 million to the Trust, enabling it to award grants to over 100 research studies and related projects. In 2013 the Trust celebrated it's 20th anniversary with the document '20 Years of Fuel Poverty Research' (pdf).
The Trust has supported academics, non-governmental organisations, housing bodies and community organisations to carry out a wide range of studies. This body of work has made a significant contribution to the development of the field, the ways in which we understand and talk about the causes and effects of fuel poverty, and the ways in which we think about solutions to this important and complex issue. Our report 'Supporting Researchers, Securing Impact' documents this.
Throughout its life, the Trust has adapted its priorities in order to provide support for cutting-edge research and projects that make a real contribution to the alleviation and, ultimately, the elimination of fuel poverty.
The Trust has provided research grants aimed at practical applied research, implementation studies and pilot projects. It has also funded the dissemination of results in forms accessible to the policy community and the provision of seminars and conferences to encourage debate.
Keen to support the next generation of fuel poverty researchers, the Trust has provided bursaries for Master’s students, PhD candidates and early-career researchers to enable them to develop their research, to disseminate it and to make connections across the fuel poverty research community.
On the basis of the principle that the creation of a robust evidence base leads to better policymaking and practice, the Trust has placed importance on communicating research to relevant audiences. Strong dissemination plans were part of the selection criteria for new projects. Outputs funded by the Trust have included:
(View the timeline in our report '25 Years of Fuel Poverty Research'.)
In determining themes for its grant-giving programme, Eaga CT has responded to contemporary debates, thereby producing evidence that pushes the boundaries of scholarship, policy and practice. Early themes included the impact of fuel poverty on health (a theme that has continued throughout its work), the impact of liberalisation of energy markets and tackling homes that are hard to treat and heat. The Trust later encouraged research on specific vulnerabilities, such as disability and rurality, as well as tools for assessing fuel poverty ‘on the ground’. More recently, the Trust’s research has contributed to the growing investigation into the particular experiences and challenges faced by tenants in the private rented sector and has helped to shape the debate on ways to identify, talk about and address fuel poverty and energy poverty across Europe.
The Trust has supported a wide range of often innovative methodologies to deepen the understanding of fuel poverty. They include economic and physical approaches to the study of energy, distributional impact analyses of policies and in-depth qualitative approaches that reflect the lived experience of fuel poverty. Studies have included evidence reviews, economic analyses, physical monitoring of buildings and heating systems, modelling of energy systems and a wide array of qualitative approaches. A particularly innovative example was the recently published ‘Being Warm Being Happy’ project. This involved adults with learning disabilities as co-researchers in a study of their experiences of fuel poverty.
This library marks the culmination of the Trust’s work and, as part of a wider project to bring together its legacy, provides an overview of the research it has funded over the last 25 years. The outputs have been assembled in a curated collection in the Fuel Poverty Library and have been grouped retrospectively into the five themes of Homes, People, Impacts, Approaches and Concepts.
As part of this project, researchers at the University of Salford have surveyed researchers funded by the Trust over the years to ask them to reflect on the influence of the funded research on both their careers and the field as a whole. In an additional study, 'Future Directions for Fuel Poverty Research' (pdf), the views of the wider fuel poverty research community on the future of the field were sought, thereby providing a sense of ‘where next’ for fuel poverty research as Eaga CT leaves the stage. Finally, a set of Topic Guides were produced. These are aimed at the policy community and provide succinct summaries of the findings and implications of the body of research funded by the Trust.
Our report '25 Years of Fuel Poverty Research' provides an overview of the outputs of the Trust. With a foreword from Chair David Kidney, it gives an outline of each of our five themes, a timeline showing the breadth of funded research, reflections from researchers who benefited from the Trust's funding and support, and an interim evaluation of research that looks to the future of the field of fuel poverty.